A majority of lawyers and other legal professionals routinely deal with ethical conflicts in addition to unusually high levels of workload in high-pressure, competitive workplaces.
This intense professional environment is attributed to the general impression among the public of a ‘drunk lawyer’. Surveys confirm that the rates of alcohol abuse in the legal profession are among the highest of any career in North America.
Since lawyers are also highly paid professionals, it can be assumed that they get timely treatment for their addiction problems.
However, the biggest barrier to getting addiction treatment is said to be the belief among the lawyers that admitting they had a problem could bring a bad reputation, damage their image in the society and essentially ruin their very career. They may also be afraid of colleagues in their law firm finding out about their problems.
These barriers to seeking the essential timely help calls for treatment options that can maintain a high degree of confidentiality and privacy.
For legal professionals, specialized services have been the most effective in treating addiction. The first step is overcoming the fears and asking for help.
International Lawyers in Alcoholics Anonymous is a group of recovered lawyers and judges carrying the message of recovery within the legal profession. Their main role is to act as a bridge between the legal professionals who are reluctant to seek help or in denial and the Alcoholics Anonymous.
Experiences from the 12-step program of the Alcoholics Anonymous demonstrated that lawyers and judges are worried about their anonymity if they attend the program. Even when they get over denying that they have a substance abuse problem, they are still reluctant to be seen publicly by attending the meetings.
If you are a legal professional feeling the overwhelming demands at work, it is advisable that you speak with your supervisor or a trusted mentor. This is the most effective first step you can take.
Many employers are committed to the physical and mental well-being if their employees and will be ready to help address the concerns. Additionally, a number of other recovery resources are also available – such as paid time off or company-funded addiction treatment.
In parallel, it is important to open up to a family member or friend who will be able to advise you. This will help relieve stress and serve as a support system. To sort out the treatment options, you should schedule a substance abuse evaluation with a counselor.